YouTube has announced that it will now hide dislike counts, the number of thumbs-down votes given to content, as part of its ongoing effort to curb harassment on the world’s largest video platform.
The company says the change is to keep smaller creators from being targeted by dislike attacks or harassment, and to promote “respectful interactions between viewers and creators.
YouTube says that when it tested hiding dislike numbers earlier this year, people were less likely to use the button to attack the creator, and that many smaller channels are disproportionately hit by dislike mobs.
The attacks can hurt creators because a high number of dislikes can affect the way YouTube doles out video recommendations. Previously, creators only had the option of turning off both like and dislike counts, which stopped them from showing off the numbers for videos with lots of likes.
YouTube isn’t getting rid of the dislike button. Instead, the company won’t list the downvote count on the video, though creators can still view the numbers privately.
Viewers are used to being able to see the like-to-dislike ratio as soon as they click on a video and may use that number to decide whether to continue watching a video or not. Now, that will no longer be an option, but it could close off a vector for harassment.
The most dislike video of all time was the company’s “2018 Rewind” video, which recapped the biggest videos and events of the year on YouTube, according to the consumer research firm Brandwatch. It was disliked 19 million times and only liked 3 million times.